This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come;
send for the most skillful of them.
Let them come quickly
and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
and water streams from our eyelids.
The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
‘How ruined we are!
How great is our shame!
We must leave our land
because our houses are in ruins.’”
Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;
open your ears to the words of his mouth.
Teach your daughters how to wail;
teach one another a lament.
Death has climbed in through our windows
and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
and the young men from the public squares.
Say, “This is what the Lord declares:
“‘Dead bodies will lie
like dung on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
with no one to gather them.’”
This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”
God and Idols
Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.”
No one is like you, Lord;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power.
Who should not fear you,
King of the nations?
This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
and in all their kingdoms,
there is no one like you.
They are all senseless and foolish;
they are taught by worthless wooden idols.
Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish
and gold from Uphaz.
What the craftsman and goldsmith have made
is then dressed in blue and purple—
all made by skilled workers.
But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God, the eternal King.
When he is angry, the earth trembles;
the nations cannot endure his wrath.
“Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’”
But God made the earth by his power;
he founded the world by his wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
The images he makes are a fraud;
they have no breath in them.
They are worthless, the objects of mockery;
when their judgment comes, they will perish.
He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he is the Maker of all things,
including Israel, the people of his inheritance—
the Lord Almighty is his name.
Gather up your belongings to leave the land,
you who live under siege.
For this is what the Lord says:
“At this time I will hurl out
those who live in this land;
I will bring distress on them
so that they may be captured.”
Woe to me because of my injury!
My wound is incurable!
Yet I said to myself,
“This is my sickness, and I must endure it.”
My tent is destroyed;
all its ropes are snapped.
My children are gone from me and are no more;
no one is left now to pitch my tent
or to set up my shelter.
The shepherds are senseless
and do not inquire of the Lord;
so they do not prosper
and all their flock is scattered.
Listen! The report is coming—
a great commotion from the land of the north!
It will make the towns of Judah desolate,
a haunt of jackals.
Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
it is not for them to direct their steps.
Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—
not in your anger,
or you will reduce me to nothing.
Pour out your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge you,
on the peoples who do not call on your name.
For they have devoured Jacob;
they have devoured him completely
and destroyed his homeland.
The Covenant Is Broken
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God. Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’—the land you possess today.”
I answered, “Amen, Lord.”
The Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’”
Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes. You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’
“Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.
“What is my beloved doing in my temple
as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes?
Can consecrated meat avert your punishment?
When you engage in your wickedness,
then you rejoice.”
The Lord called you a thriving olive tree
with fruit beautiful in form.
But with the roar of a mighty storm
he will set it on fire,
and its branches will be broken.
The Lord Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal.